How To Ride The Roller Coaster Without Knowing How It Ends (or What To Do When Life Gets Crappy)

"When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

One of the more confusing things spiritual people sometimes struggle with is the idea that our lives should be fantastic, magical and joyful all the time, no matter what. We meditate, say our affirmations and prayers, and look for signs from the Universe that we’re on the right track. We’re great at finding the positive thought and holding a space of gratitude. We reach for communion with Source for wisdom. We see our intentions manifesting beautifully and we get deep insights. It’s connected, it’s awesome, and we understand that inner guidance is always available.

And sometimes… nada. Zip. No matter what we try, nothing changes. Or worse – we get the exact opposite of what we intended! Sometimes we have to deal with the utter crap of life. Sometimes the crappiness goes on for a very long time. No matter what we try, negative patterns seem like they consistently undermine our intentions and awareness, and nothing we do can stop them.

Riding The Roller Coaster

Of course, we know life is filled with ups and downs. How we deal with the downs – the things we may have no control over or can’t foresee - becomes our lesson. Can we support ourselves with kindness and love even though our current experience is truly difficult and painful? Can we allow ourselves to have crappy experiences and NOT assume we’re “not spiritual enough” or that we’re doing something wrong?

There are situations that may have more persistent downs than ups because we’re working out a karmic legacy. From a spiritual perspective, this is a good thing as it gives us diligence with our commitment to self-awareness and growth. But, no matter what, sometimes we just have to just hang on and ride life’s roller coaster, even if we can't see the end of the tracks from wherever we are.

Releasing Self Judgment

Here’s an interesting thought: Maybe what we consciously intend for our lives may or may not be what our Higher Selves intentions are for us, anyway. See if you can relax and release your judgments about what is “supposed” to be happening, and just let what IS - just BE. Crappy, awesome, whatever. It can be hard to know where to start with this, especially when you feel like you’re hanging onto that roller coaster for dear life - so here are some perspectives to try on:

#1: You are not broken. Consider that there is nothing fundamental to “fix.” I don’t mean that there aren’t issues to work on, insights and awareness to be revealed, or personal growth to occur. That work never ends. What I mean is – we’re still here, in spite what life has dealt us, in spite of our karmic agreements, in spite of perhaps not achieving exactly what we had intended for ourselves, or in the way we intended. We survived some extremely difficult stuff. Pain, betrayal, confusion, loneliness, abandonment, abuse. We may have felt unheard and unloved. Give yourself lots of credit for surviving the challenges of childhood, the heartbreaks of your teenage years, and intense adult responsibilities.

#2: Pain comes from comparing ourselves to others. Your life belongs to you, not to anyone else. Others are walking their path, you are walking yours. The rest of the world cannot tell you how to live your life, but you can stop allowing them to by changing your own mind.

#3: We can stare our crap straight in the face. Truth is, we have to look at it, to embrace, process and understand it, and we have to react to it fully. Once we’ve done that, we can stand in a place of true choice - and choose to release it if we want to. Most of us would prefer to skip this step and go right to the releasing part, but I’ve only seen complete healing when the original source of trauma is acknowledged on every level – mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. This takes guts and resolve, and good healers to help.

This process is much like peeling the layers of an onion – there’s always another layer underneath, until you get to the core. You can’t get to the core from only one or two layers, and we can’t anticipate how many layers our onion has! So keep riding that roller coaster and hang on, matter how many twists and turns life takes - and give yourself a loving pass on judging or comparing yourself while you’re at it.

Until next time – stay inspired!


P.S. Suggested reading: Loving What Is by Byron Katie